Thursday, May 20, 2010

Palos Verdes Half Marathon (5/15/10)

Last year, I ran this 13.1 mile race just before running my first marathon. This year, that order was reversed. I came into the 2010 Palos Verdes ½ Marathon having run several marathons in the past few months. My goal today was to beat my 2009 time and run about 1:50. I gave myself my normal long acting insulin dose as soon as I woke up. For breakfast, I made my usual ham, egg, and cheese croissant along with orange juice, a banana, and coffee. No preprace Humulog (fast acting insulin) bolus unless my blood glucose spikes over 200.

I picked up my race number on Friday, but still arrived early because I might have to park far away from the start line. Upon arriving and parking about a ½ mile up the hill on Gaffey Street, I checked my sugar. It was at 180, an acceptable starting point considering I had plenty of insulin on board and was about to run 13 miles.

I carried a flask containing six packets of Vanilla Bean GU. I drank water and Gatoraid at seven of the ten aid stations, skipping the first and last two. The course was mostly rolling hills, with only one somewhat steep ascent after the first mile which we would revisit going downhill on the way back. It was an out and back course and I hit the turnaround at exactly 50 minutes. I was not sure whether I had made a mistake starting too fast, but I decided to keep the pace and find out if I could hold it. I had seen a student from the school where I work at the start line, but lost track of him in the crowd by the second mile. As I pass mile 12, his dad yells “he's trying to run you down!” That motivated me to start my final surge.

I crossed the line at 1:39.59. I achieved another one of my goals for the season, to break 100 minutes in a 13.1 mile race. It was my best half marathon time yet and it was on a relatively hilly course. I am encouraged because it shows progress towards realistically running a 3:10 marathon and qualifying for Boston. The California International Marathon in December might be that opportunity. My next challenge will be on June 5th where I will try to break 20 minutes at the Hawthorne 5k.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Xterra Malibu Creek Race Recap (5/8/10)

What are the odds? BG at start was 153. BG at finish was 153. Breakfast was a ham and cheese crossaint with coffee at the freeway onramp and a small egg burrito, hash brown, and orange juice at the offramp in Calabasas. I'm not an ironman yet, but it appears that I do have an iron stomach. Que casualidad! Mi nivel de azucar al antes de empezar fue 153 y despues de la carrera tambien estaba en 153. Al subir a la autopista desayune un cafe y un crossaint de jamon y queso. Quede con hambre entonces comi otra vez al bajarme de la autopista en la ciudad de Calabasas un burrito de huevo, hash brown y jugo de naranja. Todavia no soy un "Ironman", pero al parecer ya tengo un estomago de hierro.

It was a tough course, 14 miles with 3,600 feet of climbing over a variety of off-road terrain. I ran the course in 2:40 on April 24th and my goal today was to beat that time. I have been doing more speedwork lately and no real long runs since a three person trail marathon on April 10th where the other two guys were previewing a course in Coto de Caza for a 100 mile run. El camino fue basatante dificil, 14 millas con 3,600 pies de ascenso. Corri este camino en 2:40 el 24 de Abril y hoy mi meta fue mejorar ese tiempo. Ultimamente, me he concentrado mas en entrenamiento de velocidad y no he corrido largas distancias desde el 10 de Abril cuando corri un maraton con dos amigos que estaban preparandose para una carrera de 100 millas.

The race announcer reminded everyone that the race really starts at mile 6, after the biggest climb. I took the advice and started conservatively, power hiking the steepest ascents. I took a couple packets of GU and plenty of Gatoraid at each of the three aid stations, and sipped from my Camelback at least every ten minutes. My emergency BG booster nutrition was pretty gross (flask of stale gel I poured over a week ago) and I managed to mostly stay away from it. El locutor de la carrera nos recordo que la carrera realmente empieza en la sexta milla, despues de pasar las subidas mas inclinadas, tome el consejo y empeze a un paso mas confortable, hasta optando en caminar las secciones mas empinadas. En cada estacion de nutricion, consumi Gatoraid y un par de GU's. Tambien tome agua de mi mochila Camelback al menos cada diez minutos. En caso de emergencia, si mi azucar llegara a bajar, lleve un frasco de GU que abri hace mas de una semana. No muy apetitoso que digamos, pero no lo tuve que usar por la mayor parte.

In retrospect, I should not have filled the Camelback bladder with two liters. I only used half and it's still too new of equipment to effectively use in a race. I have used it twice, once at the training run and now on race day. Considering that this particular race was not high priority, though, I suppose it will be good experience for another day on a less supported course. I've already had one bad experience in a trail race where they ran out of water. Since then, I try to be more self-sufficient on the trails. It was hot out there, and am glad to have carried too much rather than too little. A better choice would have been one refillable handheld bottle. En retrospectiva, me di cuenta que no fue buena idea llenar mi mochila camelback con dos litros de agua. Solo tome la mitad y quiza fue tambien por la falta de practica durante el entrenamiento con el nuevo equipo (camelback). La he usado dos veces, la primera vez cuando practique en este camino el 10 de Abril y hoy, el dia de la carrera. Supongo que me servira como experiencia para acostumbrarme al equipo para otra carrera mas importante. Ya tuve una mala experiencia en un maraton offroad donde se les acabo el agua en las estaciones de nutricion. Desde entonces he tratado de cargar todo lo que puedo necesitar y no depender en ayuda externa. Ademas, hoy hizo mucho calor y fue mejor cargar mucha agua en vez de muy poca. Con estas estaciones de nutricion abundantes, habria sido suficiente correr con una botella recargable.

At 22k, this is the shortest trail race I've done. I was not surprised that some people had enough energy left to really push hard during the second, relatively flatter half. I kept moving, but didn't have much of a kick until the last ½ mile when we were back on asphault. I finished in 2:32, two minutes off my target. Race day was a lot warmer than on the training run, so I'll take it. A una distancia de 22 kilometros, esta fue la carrera offroad mas corta en cual he participado. No fue gran sorpresa que algunos guardaron energia para realmente empujar en la segunda mitad mas plana que la primera. Mantuve un buen paso, y finalmente pude acelerar en la ultima media milla cuando volvimos a las calles pavimentados. Termine en 2:32, dos minutos mas que mi objetivo. Como hizo mucho mas calor que el dia de la practica, considero que me fue bien.

I typically do not preview a course before racing it, unless it happens to overlap with my normal training grounds. In each instance where I have had the chance to do so, it has been a tremendous advantage. I am probably in worse shape than I was a couple of weeks ago, yet finished faster based on real course experience instead of a pdf elevation chart (which is still better than nothing). Lesson learned. No tengo la custumbre de practicar en los mismos caminos donde voy a participar un en una carrera a menos que coincidan con los lugares donde entreno normalmente pero he comprobado que cada vez que practico donde va ser la carrera, me ha resultado en una gran ventaja. Hoy, por ejemplo, me encuentro en peor condicion fisica que hace un mez atras, pero igual pude terminar en menos tiempo basando mi estrategia en experiencia actual en vez de un simple mapa topografico pdf. Leccion aprendida.